“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” they say, usually referring to some ill-advised liaison, alcohol-fueled gambling spree or any of the other excessive things that the great city is associated with. But the regrettable experiences of the daft aren’t the only things from Las Vegas that should never be allowed outside the city’s perimeter. Here’s five things that should have stayed in Vegas:
The Movie, What Happens in Vegas
Yes, this very article was inspired by this abominable movie. Sure, I’m not usually a fan of rom-coms, I can’t stand Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz isn’t exactly my favorite actress (she’s not terrible either, but she does appear in some real crap). But this movie is a conceptual nightmare: Joy and Jack (you hate them already) meet in Vegas having been dumped and fired respectively. They drunkenly marry and win a $3 million jackpot, but cannot get a divorce until they live with each other for six months. And if they don’t give it a try, the judge will keep the money from them for some reason.
Aside from the ridiculous concept, it’s just an unfunny, bland movie in which the two leads have zero chemistry and put in some of the worst acting performances of their not especially spectacular acting careers. Oh, and it ends in exactly the way your knew it would from the moment you saw the poster. This movie should have only been permitted to leave Vegas on a rocket into the center of the sun.
Every Celebrity Wedding, Ever
We were going to put a picture of Carmen Electra and Dennis “The Worm” Rodman actualizing their traditional wedding vows… but decided on this picture of near nude Carmen Electra because, well, why the hell not?
Ok, so it’s not like celebrities invented the ‘ill advised Vegas wedding’, even if short-term Vegas marriages like that between Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman or the 26 day episode between Axl Rose and Erin Everly provide us with the archetypical “bad Vegas wedding”. And no, I’m not the world’s moral compass… but it does seem to me that celebrities cheapen the image of the Vegas wedding more than the Las Vegas wedding cheapens the institution of marriage.
Weddings are expensive, and that’s hardly a secret. The existence of easy, cheap to obtain official marriage licenses isn’t a necessity for everyone, but there are those who it is surely a help for (a friend of mine always used to say her Father had offered her money to elope rather than deal with the huge costs of a wedding locally). At any rate, the idea that people on salaries measured in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars are having super-cheap weddings should actually be seen as a lot more offensive than it is usually accepted to be. This is especially true when celebrities seek further exposure by selling pictures or telling the story of their kooky plebeian wedding. “International Megastar Opens Can of Soup like Person with Real Job” is an equally valid headline.
We have the Canadian town of Charlemagne to thank for Celine Dion. We have the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest to thank for her Anglophone music career. And we have Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to thank for her mega-stardom. And just when it looked like she was quite comfortable with relaxing and disappearing off the radar for a while, she gets the Vegas treatment. Which is perfect: Vegas is sin city, the Pandora’s box in which all the world’s musical evils can be contained within a glitzy, long term show. The world at large can forget that Celine Dion exists, and when on Vegas Holidays, we can all find a million other distractions from the danger that lurks within the city.
For four glorious years, the dark queen was contained. Then, the dark times returned. Fear not though, she is currently imprisoned in a binding three year contract. Let’s hope the shackles hold this time.
I’ll swallow your soul.
A widely known “lesser known” fact is that the shot in the arm for the development of the modern Vegas was the extended development of the atomic bomb. After the Manhattan Project had concluded and the entire world was well aware that the United States had a nuclear capability (thanks to rather noticeable explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) the development of nuclear weapons was again kick-started by Cold War tensions. The Nevada Test Site, visible from Las Vegas drew tourists who wanted to see the most destructive power ever created by man unleashed. In a sense, it was no different than turning up for the July 4th Fireworks.
Well, if Independence Day was about developing city-levelling weapons of mass destruction.
You’d think that saying ‘Nuclear War shouldn’t have gone further than the testing phase’ would be uncontroversial, but the debate about nuclear weapons rages on, and perhaps the fact that there has never been a nuclear war does make an argument for them (i.e. mutual Nuclear deterrents work, against all reason). But the fact that these sinister devices and their direct descendents are still rattled by the world’s governments sixty years after the Nevada site opened is not a happy thought.
Contrary to the list above, I love Vegas – and you should too. But the one thing that really should stay in Vegas is Vegas itself. No, I’m not talking about a scenario in which the city has been built upon the back of some kind of dormant, metropolis sized dinosaur. Or a scenario where the city of Las Vegas is launched into space by an oil-tycoon with money to burn (though would it surprise you that much?). I’m referring to how the Las Vegas formula has led to imitators worldwide.
Considering the success of the city, it’s not surprising that people would like to repeat the formula. And if it worked for Mr. Burns in that one episode of the Simpsons, surely it could work for your local casino-filled town? Well, not really. When places are described as an alternative Las Vegas, it’s always done with no intention of being complimentary: Blackpool is described as the “Las Vegas of Northern England”, illustrating in one phrase how ridiculous such a comparison is. Ditto the music theatres on the ‘strip’ of Branson, Missouri (“just like Vegas… if it were run by Ned Flanders”).
You can’t beat Las Vegas at its own game, and why would you want to?
Steph Wood is a copywriter and blogger working for American Sky UK, a UK-based tour operator travelling to many big name US destinations.